As adults, telling time using an analog or digital clock is already second nature. It is a life skill that everyone needs.
But honestly, I cannot remember how I learned when I was young, and so I had to take it step by step as I pass it on and teach the skill to my daughter.
In this blog, I will share tips on how to teach our kids how to tell the time. I also included the items and printables that we used too! 😊
How to Teach Kids to Read the Clock
Start from the Basics
When my daughter was a toddler, she learned to distinguish day from night first. It was as simple as telling her that is a sunny day and a start night. Eventually, she knew that the sun was out during the day while the moon gave us light during the night.
As she grew a bit older, I started to teach her morning, afternoon, and night. She also learned that we ate breakfast in the morning, lunch in the early afternoon, and ate dinner at night.
Teach the Numbers
For starters, I started to teach my daughter how to count from 1 to 10 through counting out loud, Montessori beads, other math manipulatives, and worksheets. Eventually, she learned to count till 20.
When she turned four, she started to count from 1 to 100. We first used a DIY hundred board, using an illustration board I had at home, and laminated numbers I created. She would line up the numbers onto the boxes until she became more and more familiar with them.
I also created a 100 board printable and added some unicorn designs (Her favorite!). I have another variation to help her practice counting by 5s and by 10s.
Download the FREE 100 board printables HERE:
Help Your Kids Associate the Time with their routine.
We had two sets of the clock when Reese was a toddler. So I drew her routine to match the time to learn the time through association. Saying the time out loud also helped out. For instance, I will say “It’s already 12:00 NN, it is time for lunch.” or “It’s 3:00 PM, it’s time for afternoon snacks”.
Her routine would vary day to day due to different activities and online classes. So, I updated the clock to reflect the numbers 1 – 60. Note: Her clock didn’t have the numbers, so I had to add them in.
Teach How to Read the Digital Clock
Since she is already familiar with the numbers, she could tell time using a digital clock or watch. This is a good starting point since most of the watches and gadgets for younger kids show the time in digital form.
I also had a set of printable cards with the time that had the 30 minutes increment.
Teach the Parts of the Analog Clock
While knowing how to tell time using a digital watch/clock is good, the fact is – most watches and clocks are still analog. And so, it is essential to teach how to tell time using an analog clock.
Using her analog clock, I pointed out hands and what they represent.
- Shorthands – Hour
- Long hands – Minutes
- Long thinner needles – seconds
It is also good to introduce that there are 24 hours in a day, 60 minutes in an hour, and 60 seconds in a minute.
I also used a toy clock that she and I can easily manipulate for her our activities.
Practice Telling Time
We did it in phases.
1st – We started with learning the “o’clock”. Using her toy and analog clock, I would point the shorthand to an hour and keep the longhand fixed at the number 12. She would tell me the time after I shifted the shorthand.
2nd – Next is the 30 minutes increment. We practice until she has mastered it.
3rd – We went through the minutes one by one so that she had a visual.
4th – Next is the 5 minutes increment. This is where the skipping count helped.
It’s normal for kids to forget or to get confused, but remember that repetition is the key to helping them master the skill.
Try some hands-on activities.
Here are some activities that we did.
- Matching the Time
Using the time card as the cue, she will adjust the clock to match the time in the card. Alternatives could be you saying out loud or writing the time on a whiteboard.
We have two sets of fun worksheets.
- Tell the time
The worksheets have a clock that looks like our toy clock. The goal is to write the time in the digital format. There are blank sheets if you opt to write your own hour and minute hand.
Download it HERE:
- Match the Clock
This activity is a reverse exercise wherein the child can draw the hour and minute hand based on the time placed on the box. A blank sheet is available for printing too!
Download it HERE!
TIP: Insert the printable in a file folder with plastic pages so it becomes reusable.
I hope you found this blog post useful!
While the printables are free to download, please refrain from sharing digital or hardcopy with others. Kindly direct them to this direct post instead.
Please feel free to put in your feedback below. You can also tag my account, @everydaymomdayph, on Instagram or Facebook when you use the printables.
Thanks so much!